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Sustainability Impact Assessments

Sustainability Impact Assessments (SIAs) are a trade-specific tool for supporting trade negotiations. They provide the Commission with an in-depth analysis of the potential economic, social, human rights, and environmental consequences of ongoing trade negotiations and are a prime opportunity for stakeholders in both the EU and the partner countries to share their views with negotiators.

SIAs are essential for the conduct of sound, evidence-based and transparent trade negotiations. SIAs were first developed by DG Trade in 1999 for the WTO Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations and were since then conducted for all major bilateral and plurilateral trade negotiations. At the close of 2014, 22 SIAs had been conducted in support of all major bilateral and multilateral EU trade negotiations and four were ongoing.

Visit dedicated websites for ongoing Sustainability Impact assessments and see how you can contribute.

How are the assessments carried out?

SIAs support trade negotiations conducted under the authority of the Commissioner for Trade. They are independent assessments carried out by external consultants.

SIAs are performed concurrently with trade negotiations. They feed into and steer the negotiations, assessing the likely impact of a trade agreement, helping to identify possible trade-offs, and ensuring that the related policy choices are optimised.

SIAs consist of two equally important and complementary components:

  • a robust analysis of the potential economic, social, human rights, and environmental impacts that a trade agreement could have, in the EU, in the partner country(ies) and in other relevant countries; and
  • a continuous and wide-ranging consultation process which ensures a high degree of transparency and the engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the conduct of the SIA inside and outside the EU.

If you have a general enquiry about SIAs, please contact us.